Just like you, I lived by one rule when it comes to box braids – after a month, it comes out. A month is the best time to take it out really – it’s lasted for a while and has gone beyond the natural-looking phase. Now, your braids just look tired and limp.
But what if I told you that you can actually go beyond that 1 month and pack on an extra 2 weeks or more? Seriously!
A few days ago, faced with the month-end decision of what to do with my hair next, I realized I wasn’t done with my knotless box braids – even though it looked done with me. So I started to think of the usual suspects – cut the hair, cut & dye the hair, go back to my wig. It wasn’t long before I realized I really didn’t want to take my braids out at all. So I looked to my right-hand girl when it comes to hairstyles – YouTube – and there I found Adanna Madueke!
Adanna, if you’re reading this, you really helped a girl out. Her video on how to refresh box braids gave my braids life again and frankly had people thinking I braided again. Seriously! And this can happen for you too. Here’s what you need;
- A bowl of water or a spray bottle with water in it
- Cotton pads
- Edge control
- Hair oil – it can be jojoba oil, tea tree, it’s really up to you
- Leave-in conditioner
- Braiding gel or soft gel
- Rattail comb
- Mini hair clips/pins
- Grab a cotton pad and lightly saturate it with water. Then use the saturated cotton pad to clean along the lines of your box braids. This will help remove any build-up from products used originally and dirt.
- After you have cleaned all the lines, mix your water with some leave-in conditioner and hair oil. Then spray this on your hair roots and massage in. Once this is done, tie the hair down so the natural heat from your scalp can work its magic and your hair follicles can soak them up.
- After a few minutes (15 – 20 minutes) remove the hair tie and tie down all the strands for ease. Take one strand and neaten the original parting around it with your rattail comb. Apply some loose braiding gel and apply that around the braid sweeping the hair towards the braid. Go ahead and twist the hair at the base and secure it with a mini hair clip/pin.
- A great alternative is to use a knitting pin. Before applying the loose gel, pass the knitting pin through the base of the braided strand and place the tail of the braid in the latch/hook. Pull the tail through the base and this will result in the braided base tightening. You can do this 2-3 times till you get your desired tightness. Then you can apply the loose gel to the base/roots of the hair to neaten it.
- When you’re all done, apply some edge control to your edges to sleek them down. Grab your mousse bottle and apply a generous amount to flatten any flyaways and finish off with hair spray.
- You can choose to tie the hair down for a few minutes after this to further secure it, but that’s about it.
When you’re done, your hair will look brand new and will last for a few more weeks. Go ahead and add something extra with beads, twists – your choice!
For those of us who like to watch hair tutorials to get it right, here’s Adanna with how to refresh your box braids. Enjoy! And if you still decide to loosen your braids, you might actually love this look.
Photo Credit: Adanna Madueke